Being a second generation fighter isn't the easiest thing in the world, especially when your father is a former world champion. Despite that sons of former world champions do get a lot of attention, as we've seen in the west with the likes of Conor Benn, Chris Eubank Jr and Julio Cesar Chavez. The same is true in Asia where Juiki Tatsuyoshi has received attention due to his father, the enigmatic and incredibly popular Joichiro Tatsuyoshi.
Of course the fame of the father is key to things like that, and today "Introducing..." we look at a second generation fighter who's father did go on to become a world champion, but certainly wasn't a major name.
Japanese teenage Shinba Yamaguchi (1-0, 1) is the 19 year old son of former WBA Light Flyweight champion Keiji Yamaguchi.
The older Yamaguchi won the WBA Ligth Flyweight title in May 1996, out pointing Carlos Murillo. He would defend the title once, before losing in his second defense, being stopped in 2 rounds by Pichitnoi Sithbanprachan. His reign was less than 7 months long but was enough to keep him in the mix in the years that follow, with Keiji getting two other world title fights before his career came to an end in 2002.
Born in May 2000 Shinba was wouldn't have remembered any of his father's career, though Keiji did fight 4 times when Shinba was a baby most notably facing off with Gerry Penalosa. Despite that it's clear he was inspired by his father and went on to take up the sport as a youngster.
As an amateur Yamaguchi junior didn't set the world on fire, going 29-14 (7) in the unpaid ranks, but did compete in a number of notable nationwide competitions and showed some promising touches. He looked sharp, naturally quick and strong. There were technical flaws to work on, from the footage of his amateur fights that are available. He also seemed rather small for the weight class he was fighting in, which likely didn't help him run up too many wins. It was also suggested that his style wasn't suited to the amateur ranks, and that he would make a better professional than amateur.
Rather than staying in the unpaid ranks the Yamaguchi turned professional last year, signing with the Shirai Gushiken Sports gym, headed by Yoko Gushiken. He would make his professional debut last October and he quickly impressed, stopping Buncha Natheekeereekan in just 40 seconds. On paper it wasn't the most amazing of wins, but Buncha had never been blown out so quickly, or so vividly, with the Thai being knockdown hard. The shot left Buncha down for a lengthy amount of time, giving Yamaguchi the ideal start to his professional career.
Despite his debut only being scheduled for 4 rounds Yamaguchi received a lot of press attention after his win, due to who he father was and the stunning finish. His next bout, scheduled for February 13th, appears to be a very clear step up in class as he takes on Filipino foe Luis Borje (5-1-1, 2) in a 6 rounder. That's a big step up but a great chance for us to learn a lot more about the Japanese teenager, who has got lofty ambitions of following his father and becoming a world champion as well.
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